ABC marks steady increase in business

By Quintus Perera
Though comparatively new to the Insurance Business in Sri Lanka, ABC Insurance has been able succeed in a specialised market showing an increase of 300 percent in business in the first quarter of 2008, said Vinnie Gunasekera, Managing Director, ABC Insurance Co. Ltd. addressing a press conference, held at Hotel Gladari last week.

He said that, they were quite different from other insurance companies, as they were more biased towards rural insurance. He said that in rural Sri Lanka around 70 percent were low income deriving farmers, and in that group even fishermen were included. To penetrate into this market, they rapidly grew and within these three years, they were able to set up 17 branches.

By the end of this year, ABC was hoping to establish another two branches, and by the end of 2009, ABC Insurance hopes to complete their countrywide penetration. ABC is concentrating on low income group rural insurance, and already they have got more than 1,000 fishermen, under their insurance network.

ABC’s strength has been their staff comprising over 250 in-house employees backed by 650 field staff. Their branch network covers 12 districts in the country. They are fully committed to provide customer-centric services, to the masses. Their customer strength has grown to, over 25,000 in general and life insurance segments.

ABC Group of Companies is around 25 years old, and they are involved from airplanes to the motorcycle. As such, they have made a huge contribution to the national economy.

They have introduced special insurance policies for farmers, peasants, agriculturalists, security forces and fisheries folk. They have a strong belief that,they are the lifeblood of development of the country.

Through their unique insurance policies, they have provided benefits to people working in the high risk fields, thereby securing the future, of their dependants. ABC Insurance provides sponsorships, for national level sports events, as well as cultural programs.

ABC Insurance performances are: 2006 grow over 2005 – 634 percent; 2007 growth pending audit – 195 percent; General Insurance growth – 300 percent and growth, as a whole, showed an increase of 195 percent (before auditing).


PABC Bank - champions at the Inter-bank quiz competition 2008

PABC BANK emerged winners at the Inter-Bank Quiz competition conducted by the Association of Chartered Bankers of Sri Lanka Trust, held at the Galadari Hotel on April 5, 2008.

Twenty Nine teams representing all major banks in the country participated at this annual event to compete for this prestigious award for the 17th consecutive year. The competition covered wide areas including Banking / Finance / Current Affairs / Sports and Entertainment.

The team fielded by the Bank to compete at the Inter–Bank Quiz competition was led by Prasad Fernando and the team comprised of Nirmalath Fernando, R.Naguleswaran H.J.Umaharan and Navodaya Vidurangana.

The Bank’s Assistant General Manager–HR Development, Amitha Samarasinghe says that development of staff is one of the major areas for which priority is given by the bank and further adds that they conduct Internal Quiz Competitions as well, as an annual event. PABC continuously encourages its staff to develop their inbuilt talents for the benefit of the institution in achieving its Corporate Vision. PABC takes great pride in the achievement of winning this title for the 2nd time in 04 years.


Sampath Bank lends a hand to Thalasemia patients

Recently, Sampath Bank Limited helped an Entrepreneur, who is manufacturing a Medical Infusion Machine, needed for Thalasemia patients.

This machine was originally imported for a cost, which is about three times higher than the locally manufactured machine, and this Thalasemia disease is spread in Kurunegala and Anuradhapura Districts.

Most of them are children and they are not rich, thus they are unable to meet the high cost of medicine required for this disease.

Canadian Health Association and Thalasemia Association have accepted this, as a suitable machine for the patients, since it is manufactured locally, for the same International standards.


 Highest interest rates combine with super convenience                                                         

Simplicity, accessability and convenience from ICICI Bank

“Unbelievable as it sounds, ICICI Bank has made banking Simple, Accessible, Convenient and Hassle Free, so much so that even your kids will find banking fun and what’s more, when you bank with us, you don’t have to go to the Bank as the Bank comes to you” said Sachin Sikka, Senior Vice President and Head of Retail Banking, ICICI Bank Sri Lanka.

“For instance, our 12% Savings Account has no special conditions or slabs unlike other products currently available. You may have Rs.100 in your account or Rs.10 million, you still earn 12 % interest, furthermore you can make as many withdrawals as you wish, it does not affect the rate of interest, and neither is it subject to any particular investment period.”

All that ICICI Bank customers have to do when they need to make a withdrawal is to access the over 1000 Visa enabled ATMs around the country which are available to them at no extra charge. “Our customers do not need to keep a track of the location of their ATM as they can access any of the 1000 Visa enabled ATMs spread across the island at no extra charge, thus maximizing customer convenience.”

Door Step Banking is yet another example of ICICI Bank’s efforts to make banking easy, convenient and hassle free.
“At ICICI Bank we believe in empowering our customers, in this case the entire family. We have focused on providing convenience to our customers; hence we have introduced Doorstep Banking. Under this service, the customer no longer has to come to the bank, instead the bank goes to the customer; whether it is to enact a fund transfer, get a new cheque book, or basically just any banking matter other than a cash deposit” said Sikka.

For added convenience, ICICI Bank also has installed ‘Drop Boxes,’ a total of 13 at all IOC petrol sheds where customers could drop in their banking requirements with the assurance of them being attended to in 24 hours.

ICICI Bank prides themselves on their all inclusive, simple, convenient and hassle free approach to banking, which caters to customers across the board.

“We are a customer friendly bank which aims to make banking simple and convenient and by continuing to offer our customers such facilities we are living up to our promise that ICICI Bank is the bank that empowers the customer.”

According to Country Head Prem Thampi, “ICICI Bank would continue to add more products and services to our basket in line with the Banks above mentioned strategy of convenience and simplicity.”


Commercial Bank opens 164th Branch in Wadduwa

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has opened its 164th branch in Wadduwa, in a spacious building with ample parking facilities.
The new branch at No. 543, Galle Road, Wadduwa, is linked to all other Commercial Bank branches and the 22 supermarket Banking Centers islandwide permitting online real-time banking. It is also equipped with an ATM linked to over 300 ATMs of Commercial Bank, and over one million ATMs belonging to the Cirrus and Visa networks worldwide.


Ceylinco Life announces ‘Retirement Planning Month’

Retirement Planning, a relatively under-developed sphere in Sri Lanka, has become the latest area of focus, for Life Insurance leader Ceylinco life.

Following the success of its ‘Life Insurance Week’ programme, in February this year, the company has now announced, an initiative to declare a ‘Retirement Planning Month’ (RPM), to promote retirement planning in the country.

Scheduled to be observed from May 1st-31st, the ‘Retirement Planning Month’, will be preceded by mass media campaigns, focusing on the need for retirement planning, targeting existing policyholders, as well as all working people in general, the company said.

Explaining the reasons, for the company’s decision, to launch this initiative, Ceylinco Life’s Chief Executive Director R. Renganathan said: “The penetration of retirement planning in Sri Lanka, is even lower than, that of life insurance, even though, the population is ageing. We think, that there should be greater public awareness, about the need for retirement planning, It is an urgent requirement.”

During the Retirement Planning Month, nearly 4000 Ceylinco Life personnel will be deployed islandwide, to discuss retirement planning, with people of all walks of life. “The company has developed a new module, to conduct need analyses, for retirement planning and has set itself, the target of completing 400,000 need analyses, during the month,” Renganathan said.

The company will also distribute leaflets, that will help people understand, retirement planning and the need for it, conduct street promotions and give every person, who obtains a retirement plan during this period, an attractive gift.

The initiative will be supported by outdoor banners, pennants and interactions, at branch level, across the counrty.
Sri Lanka’s most successful life insurer, Ceylinco Life, ended 2007 with a premium income of Rs 6.8 billion, an increase of more than Rs 1.1 billion, over the previous year. The company’s Life Fund exceeded Rs 16.8 billion, as at December 31, 2007.


NDB Bank among ‘Top Ten’

 NDB bank, one of the fasted growing commercial banks in Sri Lanka, was ranked 8th, among the top 10 Sri Lankan Companies, for the financial year 2006 – 2007, recently chosen by the leading business magazine “Business Today”.

Since 1979, NDB Bank has been one of the largest sources of medium and long-term project finance, for business in Sri Lanka. In 2001, NDB Bank entered the commercial banking arena.

NDB Bank made its comeback, resulting from an 84% growth in profits of the NDB Group. Profits from core banking business, contributed to the healthy performances of the bank, and Capital Gains to the tune of Rs. 1,016 million contributed to its exceptional increase in profits. The Capital Gain was realised, from the sale of Capital Investment and Development Company, a subsidiary of NDB, as part of its holding NDB Finance Lanka Ltd., the holding company of Eagle Insurance Co. Ltd. , to Aviva International Holdings Ltd.

With long-term sustainable returns, the bank has done well, in terms of profitability and has a quality portfolio, with the lowest Non-Performing Loans in the industry, among local banks.

The bank’s low cost income ratio, among local banks, also reflects its stability, while the growth in its deposit mobilisation, demonstrates the rapid expansion of its distribution network. NDB Bank is also well capitalised, with a strong balance sheet.

NDB Bank has the strength and diverse resources, to offer its customers, a very wide-ranging portfolio of financial solutions, including funding for structured and corporate finance deals, project financing, SME financing, retail banking, treasury, cash management services, trade finance operations and advisory and services through a rapidly expanding branch network, which currently consists of 40 branches.

The bank has developed a reputation, for innovative banking products and services, that meets the real needs of its customers, and offers a wide range of commercial banking services, which include, Current Accounts, Call Deposits, Privilege Banking, Savings Accounts, Children’s savings, Vishmitha savings account with zero percent interest, Housing Loans, Bancassuarance and Western Union Money Transfer Services.

These products and services are backed by efficient electronic processing, and multiple delivery channels, operated by teams of highly experienced banking professionals, ATM’s state of art Internet Banking Services and Touch Banking by phone.

In addition, as part of the NDB Group, the customers have access to the products and services of the Group, including insurance from Eagle insurance company, stock brokering from NDBS stockbroker and Investment Banking from NDB Investment Bank, among others. Innovation and technology have been the hallmarks of NDB Bank, and the rapid expansion of the branch network, has helped the customers, to enjoy an excellent service, from its highly customer oriented staff. In addition to the wide array of products, NDB Bank introduced an innovative product - ‘eZ Pay’, South Asia’s first mCommerce (Mobile Commerce) initiative, which is a revolutionary service, that allows consumers to purchase goods, pay bills, transfer money and perform banking transactions via their mobile phones.


Sampath Bank breaks new ground in Chilaw

Sampath Bank further strengthened its presence by inaugurating its latest branch at No.64, Colombo Road, Chilaw.

Sampath Bank being the leader of information technology in the local financial services industry and with a strong established presence in the Sri Lankan market will now cater to the utmost satisfaction of the customers in and around Chilaw area who are likely to enjoy these enhanced banking facilities.

This branch is now connected to its island–wide network of electronically linked branches providing the most advanced banking services.


‘CTA Schaffter Award’ for scholars of Wayamba University

In recognition of his invaluable contribution to insurance in Sri Lanka, and, Janashakthi Insurance Co Ltd which he founded 14 years ago, the company’s management in collaboration with the Wayamba University of Sri Lanka recently launched an awards scheme in honour of C.T.A. Schaffter.

“The CTA Schaffter Award”, as it has been called, will be awarded annually to the top three students who excel in the B.Sc (Hons) degree programme, in Insurance and Valuation at the Wayamba University. This newly launched programme comes at a time when Sri Lanka needs fully fledged professionals, in the spheres of insurance and valuation. This year, the course will extensively cover all aspects of insurance and valuation, and is expected to train about 25 such graduates, each year.
The Best Student will receive a Gold Medal and cash award, while the second and third best students, will receive Silver and Bronze Medals and cash awards, respectively.


The branch of a Ceylinco Islamic Bank was recently opened at Akkaraipattu Town, under the patronage of Dr. Z.M Rafeek, the Executive Director and the Chief Executive Officer of the Ceylinco Profit Sharing and Investment Corporation Ltd. Picture shows Dr. Z.M Rafeek addressing the gathering, after opening the Akkaraipattu Branch, and accepting a deposit from a customer